Jobless rates decline

Published 1:23 am Sunday, June 27, 2010

Contributing Editor

Beaufort County’s unemployment rate fell from 10.8 percent in April to 10.6 percent in May, a decline of 0.2 percent, according to information released Friday by the North Carolina Employment Security Commission.
Beaufort County’s unemployment rate has been at least 10 percent each month since January 2009. Since February, Beaufort County’s unemployment rate has declined each month from a high of 12.3 percent in January.
In May, Beaufort County’s work force was at 21,133 people. Of that number, 18,893 people were working, with 2,240 people unable to find jobs, according to ESC figures. Statewide, 450,647 people in the 4,547,316-member work force for May were unemployed.
In April, Beaufort County’s work force totaled 21,206 people. Of that number, 18,938 people were employed, with 2,268 people unable to find employment, according to ESC figures. Statewide, 455,013 people in the 4,544,767-member work force for April were unemployed.
The state’s jobless rate for May was 9.9 percent, down 0.2 percent from April’s unemployment rate of 10.1 percent.
Pat Oswalt, director of the ESC office in Washington, said he doesn’t expect jobless rates in the area to fluctuate much during the next several months.
“It’s pretty much stagnant,” he said of the county’s unemployment rate.
Little has changed in recent months, he said.
“Our (unemployment benefit) claims are down, but we haven’t had an increase in job orders,” he said.
“I don’t see anything of any magnitude,” he said, referring to any factors that could influence area counties’ jobless rates one way or the other.
He declined to speculate on when Beaufort County would next see its jobless rate below 10 percent. Oswalt said he does not have enough data to help him make an informed guess about when that could happen.
“A majority of North Carolina’s counties experienced a decline in their unemployment rates,” said ESC Chairman Lynn R. Holmes in a news release. “Some counties benefited from seasonal hiring, which is typical this time of the year. We continued to experience industry growth within our metropolitan statistical areas. In May, 11 of the state’s 14 metros had an increase in job growth. The ESC continues to respond to the needs of our customers at our 89 offices statewide.”
As of Saturday, unemployed Beaufort County residents had received $1,341,78 in unemployment-insurance benefits during the past 30 days, according to ESC data. Since Jan. 1, Beaufort County residents have received $8,177,486 in unemployment-insurance benefits.
Martin County’s jobless rate fell from 10 percent in April to 9.9 percent in May, a drop of 0.1 percent.
Hyde County’s unemployment rate was at 8.1 percent in April, falling 1.2 percent to 6.9 percent in May.
In Washington County, the jobless rate from 11.2 percent in April to 10.9 percent in May, a drop of 0.3 percent.
In May, one county had a jobless rate at or below 5 percent, 46 counties had employment rates between 5 percent and 10 percent and 53 counties had jobless rates higher than 10 percent, according to ESC data.
Currituck County reported the state’s lowest unemployment rate in May at 4.9 percent. Scotland County had the highest jobless rate in May at 16 percent.